There’s a sense of familiarity with Spinster, the tried-and-tested formula of idiosyncratic American indie comedy. A quirky, jaded chef, Gaby (Chelsea Peretti) has reached a crossroads, newly single after numerous failed relationships. Approaching the big 4-0 with little to show for it, she decides to take matters into her own hands. This is an enjoyable watch with a simple premise about self-empowerment, elevated above the cookie-cutter by Peretti’s refreshingly unique acting style.

Her performance is excruciatingly deadpan, expressionless even, hilariously lacking in any sincerity. As she comes home to find her boyfriend packing his stuff, she drops to the floor clutching his feet, begging him not to leave. An exaggerated gesture met by an unconvincing near-poker face, betrayed only by a side smirk—as if the joke is on the viewer, watching a whole film where its main lead isn’t even bothering to act.

Once you get into Gaby’s groove and allow space for her wacky character to unfold, what surfaces is an inimitable female perspective. A nuanced portrayal; one that is sometimes rude, aloof and prickly, all wrapped in this laissez-faire exterior. She becomes increasingly commanding and likeable as the self-revelations kick in and a softer side surfaces. This is aided further by the natural rapport between the characters, attributed to an unconventional and unpretentious script. Whether it’s friends, family or a bigoted man across the dining table, the focus stays on Gaby, never allowing for any of the side-tracking pitfalls of unnecessarily overdramatic subplots.

Labelled as an anti-romcom, Spinster thankfully doesn’t resolve itself into some generic neat romantic ending. As Gaby would attest, it’s a bittersweet pill going against the grain, constantly having to defend her choice of singledom. Nonetheless, she is the voice of empowerment, of someone striking out on their own terms and not having to adjust to limiting preconceived notions.



CAST: Chelsea Peretti, Susan Kent, Amy Groening, Charlie Boyle

DIRECTOR: Andrea Dorfman

WRITER: Jennifer Deyell

SYNOPSIS: Catering chef Gaby, following a recent breakup and approaching her big 4-0, decides to strike out on her own.